Taking exception to the Government of India's stand to allow only public sector entities to mine beach sand minerals, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi) has pitched for a level playing field for private sector miners.
As per a notification by the Union mines ministry dated February 20 2019, only government-owned companies are permitted to mine beach sand minerals (BSM). Fimi feels the government order undermines the role of private sector in BSM mining.
“Private sector has been playing active role in mining BSM and contributing Rs 5,000 crore a year to the current revenue since this sector was opened to it. Further, this sector has been exporting BSM to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore annually”, Fimi said in its submission to planning think-tank Niti Aayog.
“It happens only in India that instead of improving our regulatory regime, we blame only private industry which in this case resulted in job loss to lakhs of workers engaged directly and indirectly. Closing of an industry is not the solution”, it added.
Closure of BSM mines for private sector miners is already having an adverse impact on downstream units and they will now have to fall back on imports.
India is endowed with ample deposits of BSM. The BSM deposits can be replenished by natural phenomena due to specific gravity of the mineral grains.